By YUE LI
SHANGHAI -- Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, and China Petrochemical Corp. or Sinopec
Group, are expected to start their joint Yanbu, Saudi
Arabia-based oil refinery operations by the end of
2014, a top executive from Aramco said Thursday.
The proposed commence date is slightly behind schedule,
which according to Aramco's website was slated for September
"That project is already in the process of
execution and construction. Our expectation is (to
be operational) by the end of next year," CEO of Aramco
Trading, Said A. Al-Hadrami, told Dow Jones on the
sidelines of a CRU conference.
Aramco and Sinopec Group signed the deal to develop the
400,000-bpd refinery, known as Yasref, in
January last year. Sinopec holds a 37.5% stake in the project, while Saudi Aramco owns
62.5%. Sinopec Group is Asia's biggest oil refiner by
US oil major ConocoPhillips in 2011 pulled out of the Yanbu
project after deciding to cut back
on refining and marketing
The Aramco-Sinopec deal is part of efforts by China and
Saudi Arabia to strengthen energy ties.
In 2011, Aramco agreed to an initial deal with PetroChina to
supply crude oil to a new refinery in southwest China, a move
aimed at cementing Saudi Arabia's position as China's top crude
China surpassed the US as the biggest importer of oil from
Saudi Arabia in 2009.
Dow Jones Newswires